Mount Pleasant

‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ draws strong crowds to Broadway Theater

East Jordan junior Jacob Crawford plays the role of George Bailey as he covers the mouth of Mount Pleasant resident Katie Crane, who plays the role of Mary Hatch-Bailey during the Friday night production of “It’s a Wonderful Life” at the Broadway Theater, 216 E. Broadway St. As one of her lines Crane yells a lie to her mother, “He’s making passionate love to me!” where afterward Crawford covers her mouth to keep her quiet. (Bethany Walter/Staff Photographer)

A volunteer at the Broadway Theater swept popcorn from beneath the seats as he quietly sang “We Wish You A Merry Christmas,” the hymn that closed out the performance of “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

The Sunday performance was the third in a Mount Pleasant tradition when the theater’s holiday season aligns with the Dickens Christmas Festival downtown.

“It’s been a holiday tradition in Mount Pleasant to attend the play after the Dickens parade,” Lauren Lawrence, vice chair of the Friends of the Broadway program that operates the theater, said. “That’s part of our strategy.”

This year followed that tradition and is in the middle of its performance of “It’s A Wonderful Life,” based on the classic 1947 film. The first performance was held Friday.

Immediately after, hundreds lined the streets to watch decorated fire trucks, tractors and Santa march down Main and Broadway streets, the front doors of the theater at 216 E. Broadway St. were plugged with people waiting for a ticket.

Lawrence said the average attendance so far has been about 250 people.

“The holiday season is our most attended of the year,” Lawrence said.

“A Christmas Story” was the act during the theater’s holiday season last year.

Lawrence said “It’s A Wonderful Life” has been well attended so far, in comparison to previous years.

“I thought it was wonderful,” Stacy Evans of Montrose said. “I’ve been here a couple other times. I just like to support small theater. We came as a family to start the Christmas season.”

Katie Crane, Mount Pleasant High School junior, played the role of Mary Hatch-Bailey, wife of the story’s protagonist, George Bailey.

“I’ve been in many other productions,” Crane said. “It was just another play I really wanted to be a part of.”

Crane said her mother and grandmother attended Sunday’s performance. She said much of her family came to see the first two performances, and she expects many of her friends to come see the following performances.

The play continues at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

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